In my travels, as President of The Nierenberg Group, I am fortunate to meet wonderful people and hear their stories. Please read about some of the fascinating people and situations that make up my world.
Thank you for taking the time to learn about those who has made a difference in my life and work.
I look forward to learning about you!
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No two people network the same way. We are either introverted, extraverted or an ambivert. Add into the equation that we all have a dominant personality style and we learn 3 different ways- visual, auditory or kinesthetic. It can be very frustrating if you try to make it a 'one size fits all' which doesn't exist. Look at the following suggestions that can help you form your own networking strategy that will work ideally for your particular personality style.
Identify your personality type. In your career, you have probably completed several personality profile assessments. I use the DISC in my practice and there are many more. With the DISC, you are one of four categories-dominant,influencer,steadiness and conscientious. The bottom line is that each category networks differently from the others.
Be yourself. I love the line- 'be yourself since everyone else is taken'. I give out my 'Networking Checklist' and always say 'modify' this according to your style and comfort. However in all case, stretch yourself a bit so you get better no matter what your style is. For some of us that means, to pull back, and listen more to the other person.
Just do it .Like anything, in order to feel more comfortable networking, you need to get out and practice. Very few people are born with a specific 'networking' gene to make them a 'natural networker'. Like any skill we learn to excel at, it takes practice and consistency and learning from our challenges. For example, if networking at an event is uncomfortable, give yourself a goal to attend one event a month. Work your way to attending more.
Remember that Networking is a daily lifetime activity. Most of the time, it is not even a formalized process. We talk to people every day in a social setting or when we are sitting in an airport waiting for a flight, at the gym or basically anywhere in life. When you have an ear for curiosity, you will learn so much and you never know who you will meet. Just from my walking group, I have met and learned from terrific people that have taught and introduced me to so much living in Sarasota. And at the same time, I am getting healthier and in better shape!
No matter what your personality style is or how you learn, keep the following in mind everyday as you network through life:
I am prepared and focused
I am a good listener
I am passionate about my work and what I do
I am approachable
I am interested in others and what they have to say
You have the opportunity to exponentially expand your circles of influence, professional and social connections by building relationships with groups and individuals in your community. Consider joining local organizations dedicated to making a positive impact. Being active and visible in these groups highlights your value and positions you as a committed and trusted community advocate.
How it helps
Key players in your community may include local government officials, school board members, alumni groups, religious leaders and executives of local charities. Generating consistent face-time with these individuals tends to afford you a degree of credibility over time within the community. You can markedly expand your circles of influence by developing friendships with these groups and members of your community.
How to get started
Identify the leaders and organizations that you believe are influential in your community.
Get to know the constituents served by each leader and the types of business challenges they may be trying to solve.
Identify one or two leaders that you’d like to connect with the most.
Join community groups and organizations that have the highest concentration of potential new clients and where you feel you will make the most impact. You must be genuine in your endeavors and be willing to put in the time to get involved.
Stay in regular contact with the leaders you have identified as centers of influence.
When you’re doing volunteer work, send regular updates by mail or e-mail. Send information they can share with others, such as action items completed toward civic projects.
Ask leaders during face-to-face meetings for input, suggestions and advice on projects you’re involved with.
Once you’ve identified groups you’re interested in joining, ask about what needs they may have and what kind of time commitment may be involved. Look for groups that most closely align with your personal and professional interests and that you would enjoy working with .
Be highly visible—offer to introduce speakers at community events. Become a greeter or usher.
Be an advocate—help community leader’s network in areas that may be important to them, such as finding legal or professional resources or anywhere you have specific contacts and subject matter expertise.
Be vocal—speak up in meetings, participate in discussions, let your unique voice be heard.
Where to go for help
Pay attention to your local papers and news stations. Which leaders are being interviewed the most? Which leaders tend to receive favorable news coverage?
Visit local websites that talk about projects going on in your community.Since I have moved to Sarasota, Florida almost 2 years ago, I continue to see how my own network has grown. By joining, getting involved and participating with The Rotary Club, Chamber of Commerce and a Bi partisan political group, I have met and developed relationships and doors have opened. Does it take time?? Absolutely, yet we all know that true networking that yields results take time, patience and commitment.Another wonderful community opportunity for me just resulted in being selected as part of the "Leadership Sarasota" Class of 2017 sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce.I am excited and look forward to becoming more involved in the community.
Explore the various professional, civic and charitable organizations you currently belong to or would like to join, and consider ways you can leverage your affiliation both personally and professionally. For each organization, identify three to five key people whom you most want to get to know and approach them. As you get to know them and learn from them opportunities may develop. It is a known fact that people who affiliate with the same group as you are often more open and trusting as a result of your shared interests.
We know that organizations often tend to be formed around a common goal—supporting medical research, funding the arts, boosting children’s athletic clubs, etc. Even if you have no prior history with the group, once you join an organization, you instantly become a member of the team.
A few ways to start:
Make a list of all the organizations you belong to and those would you like to join. Think where can I also make a difference and really be a member of the team.
Identify which organizations offer the highest concentration of potential new clients for your business over time. Be patient and develop the relationships. You may result in a new referral source, a trusted advisor to your board or a new friend.
Identify key qualified prospects in those organizations. Note any common interests, affiliations, or shared connections that you have with these people. Again, here is where you start adding to your Information bank.
Invite people in your associations to attend seminars or business events that you are hosting outside of the one you first met at. Help them expand their network.
What is the commitment?
Like many people, you probably already belong to a number of different groups all with different interests, opportunities and possibilities. Identify and commit to participating in organizations, events, programs, etc.
Contribute content to your organization’s newsletter or website. If your club or organization produces an online newsletter or blog, offer to write a column on topics of interest to your fellow members. Include a short bio of yourself (no more than two or three sentences) that describes what you do and the challenges that you help people solve.
Talk about current events and topics related to your field. Before and after organizational meetings, pay attention to the conversations around you. When people are talking about the latest headlines, (other than politics) engage them in topics that you both may be interested in learning more about.
I think of the various organizations I belong to and the wonderful friendships and referral opportunities that have resulted which has added tremendously to my networking universe and business. Again this happens over time and with commitment. Nothing happens overnight especially in networking.
Think of the people in your life who you enjoy and make you smile. These people are also in your social network. They already know you and like you. When we network with people we know, we have a tremendous advantage right out of the gate. Discussing shared interests, traits and commonalties we instantly form a bond and foster trust. How to get started with this particular 'mind set'
Identify overarching themes that unite your social circle. What qualities, characteristics or life experiences do you all have in common? Start listing and keeping track like you do in your "Information Bank."
Make a list of opportunities people in your social circle are most commonly trying to develop and even challenges they are trying to solve. We never know when we can help another person.
3. Practice telling your story.
Think of examples of how you have helped others solve a challenge or create an opportunity in your field of business that is applicable to those in your social network.
Develop a short, 30 to 60-second story about how you helped a client in the past. Keep developing new stories all the time.
Practice telling your story to your closest connections--family or colleagues and then begin sharing it with your social circle.
What is your committment?
Everyone has a social network, so tapping into yours may only require a small amount of planning and time. Take a few hours to consider the nature of your social network and practice telling your story until you feel comfortable. Just make sure you have the capacity and determination to cultivate new contacts as you make them. Social Networking is fun-- just remember we do it without thinking about it. I always think, 'what can I do to help the other person?' Never 'keep score'-- lead with strength and abundance and do so consistently. Best practices
Talk with people about themselves—avoid the temptation to talk about yourself. Rather talk about people you’ve helped and problems that you’ve helped them solve if that is applicable.
Focus on challenges that are common to your social network—ask what is going on in their life? Listen and learn.
Give first, receive later—Be open and give advice and come from a place of abundance. Talking about how you might solve a certain situation objectively is a conversation starter and developer.
Think- Who do I enjoy being with and how can I help them?
Andrea Nierenberg President of Nierenberg Consulting Group
If you could spend part of your networking hours cultivating relationships with people who share your interests and passions, that would sound quite ideal in my estimation. You are connecting with people who you already share 'like minded interests'. Sharing activities you are already passionate about gives you an instant connection with a variety of people including your clients and prospects and this is an extremely valuable networking opportunity. So how do you start-- 1. Identify your areas of passion and focus on the one or two activities that might deliver the highest concentration of new connections.
Choose an activity that you are genuinely interested in. The goal of this approach is to make networking even more enjoyable.
Think about your current activities. Do they offer a strong potential for meeting your ideal client(s).
If not, consider other areas of interest that may present this opportunity.
List places where people with the same interest tend to naturally congregate. Consider:
What events do they attend?
What venues do they frequent?
What clubs do they belong to?
Schedule and/or attend two to three events each quarter based on your personal interests. 4. With a variety of groups and organizations that you may tap into- time is always a factor. Think of using my '2-2-2' theory here. 1.Attend two meetings or events- This will help you in several ways:
You will experience the organization or group first hand.
You will see whether the organization will meet your particular needs.
You will meet people involved in the organization.
You can access a schedule of events and find out their long-term goals.
2.Meet two people and exchange contact information.
You can ask specific questions about the organization, such as who regularly attends, whether the meetings you attended are typical, and how you can benefit from the group.
You can find out what kinds of people participate in the group.
3.Arrange two follow-up meetings for breakfast, lunch, or coffee. This step is great for its long-term benefits:
If you join, these two relationships can multiply into many relationships within the group.
Regardless of whether you join or not, you now have two new connections and can start to build the relationship.
Commitment required If you join a group, commit to participating regularly. These meetings are your opportunity to build relationships and cultivate your network. Ongoing activity and communication will keep you visible. Some best practices to keep in mind:
Volunteer to help out with the group’s events or projects. Before organizing an event, ask for input and feedback about your ideas.
Be prepared to describe your job—When someone from with an organization you belong to asks, “What kind of work do you do?”, have a short, memorable answer ready to go. Say something that describes your specialty, such as “I help people plan for retirement” or “I help small business owners manage financial risk.”
Where to go....
Do a web search for affinity groups and events in your local area.
Join online communities for your area of interest via LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.
Look for meet up's in your community based on your specific interests.
When you connect with someone over a shared passion, it creates a powerful instant affinity and common bond. A shared passion provides the basis for not only an easy and engaging conversation, it also lays the groundwork for ongoing communication.